If you think of a hospital maternity unit and all the babies lying in their plastic cots, do you think of the labels they may come to wear? Visiting a newborn you might say “he has the look of Aunt Annie” or “does he have my nose?”. We don’t look at a baby and say “he’s an academic” or “she’s a shy one”. So how in the space of a few years do we have labels thrust upon us?
Gaining a good school report one term we’re told we’re smart, but a bad spelling test can mark us as stupid. Doing Michael Jackson impressions as an eight year old can label us as “a born entertainer” for years. Struggling with the complexities of long division can soon turn into ”not very good at maths”. We come to believe them. Then as we grow older we find that we are pretty good good at amusing people, and certainly not good at maths. Is this true? Or is it a label we’ve been given and taken on as indisputable truth?
Try this exercise. Every half hour yawn and tell yourself that you’re tired. I guarantee that by the end of the day you’ll feel exhausted and will be planning an early night! Why? Because if we tell ourselves that we’re feeling a certain way, or that we behave in a particular fashion, we will believe it, just as sure as if we had black hair or long legs.
Some people live with these labels all their life and it takes courage to start peeling back the layers of who you really are and uncovering the real you hidden within. But once you can start shedding those beliefs, ideas and labels it’s the most freeing thing imaginable. New possibilities emerge, new doors open and a whole new world opens up.
One of my clients had always been labeled as clever, ambitious, academic and successful. And she was. She’d been studious at school, done well and gone straight into a corporate career. She lived the label but slowly realized she loathed the corporate life more as time went on. But she felt stuck, because this was had always been expected of her and she couldn’t see an alternative. When we stripped these labels away, she found a new confidence in herself and we explored what really excited her. She’s now managing an equestrian centre and gets to ride her horse every day. She’s in heaven! It’s her new wonderful life and as far away from an office block as you can imagine.
Once you admit you’re not a “stay at home bird”, you can plan the trip you always secretly desired. Now you’re not “the academic shy one”, you can explore what you really enjoy; maybe you’ll take up Samba classes or join a choir! What would you do if you stopped being the person you’d been told you were?
When you discover who you really are, you can change anything and everything. You’re now free to explore what it is you want and who knows who might emerge?
PS As I said, getting rid of your labels can be scary and you may wonder where all this confidence is going to come from! I have launched a brilliant new course that helps you boost your confidence is a fresh fun way. All details are here – The 3 Week Confidence Booster